May 10, 2004

News & Opinion: The Manufacturing Way

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 6:01 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

My entry last week got me thinking about other good manufacturing titles. First, if you are interested in Six Sigma, I recommend The Six Sigma Way by by Peter S. Pande, Robert P. Neuman, and Roland R. Cavanagh. I spent two years in the thick of Six Sigma at GE and I think this book is a good combination of strategy and tactics. Most of the titles on the subject are fluff stories about what companies did, not how to do it. Second, there is a new book out called The Toyota Way by Jeffery Liker. This is another example of there being lots of books the subject. This one seems to tell you a lot about how Toyota has been successful. Liker has organized the content around 14 principles. Here is the introduction to Principle 13: Make Decisions Slowly by Consensus, Thoroughly Considering All Options; Implement Rapidly.:
If you've got a project that is supposed to be fully implemented in a year, it seems to me that the typical American company will spend about three months on planning, then they'll begin to implement. But they'll encounter all sorts of problems after implementation, and they'll spend the rest of the year correcting them. However, given the same year-long project, Toyota will spend nine to 10 months planning, then implement in a small way- such as with pilot production- and be fully implemented at the end of the year, with virtually no remaining problems. -Alex Warren, former senior vice president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky